‘G for George’ remembered
SEVENTY-FIVE years ago on November 12, Rockhampton folk gathered at the airport, their eyes cast to the skies and searching for the arrival of the Lancaster Bomber ‘G for George’.
Cheers erupted from the crowd as the plane touched down after surviving 90 operational missions over Europe throughout World War II.
Stepping out of the cockpit was Rocky man and Flight Lieutenant Eddie Hudson.
‘G for George’ was one of thousands of bombers, many with Australian aircrew, which flew during the height of the war’s bombing offensive.
The plane had survived missions between 1942 to 1944, 50 of which were operated by Squadron Leader Hudson.
When the war came to an end, over 50,000 men from Britain and the Commonwealth had died in bomber operations over Europe.
Returning home to Rockhampton to see his family, Mr Hudson flew ‘G for George’ from Brisbane, circling Rockhampton twice before landing at 3pm.
Chair of Rockhampton’s airport committee, Councillor Neil Fisher said the remarkable story of Eddie and ‘George’ was one that will never be forgotten.
“Most people would not realise that one of the true flying heroes of World War II was a resident of Rockhampton,” Cr Fisher said.
“He was known as a modest and gallant lad with a devotion to duty.
“It is amazing when you think that the bomber was flown by 29 different crews, with 50 of the 90 missions led by Flight Lieutenant Eddie Hudson and his crew.
“They were particularly renowned for hitting the right target in the dark.
“As we look back today and think of his achievements we are so proud of his service to Australia and his safe return home.
“It’s so special that he could then create a historical moment by flying ‘George’ to Rockhampton with his crew.”
On their return home, Mr Hudson and his crew were the guests of the Rockhampton Club.
They were entertained by the City Council at a lunch at the Heritage Hotel (formerly known as the Commercial Hotel).
During the afternoon they were guests of the Rockhampton Jockey Club at Callaghan Park.
At night they attended a reception given by the YWCA.
During his visit, Eddie said he was glad to be back.
“We are having an excellent time here, and the hospitality is almost overwhelming,” he had said.
In 2014, council opened the Eddie Hudson room at the airport to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of ‘G for George’ landing in Rockhampton.
“It’s important that we remember and tell this story so that the memory of Eddie and his achievements live on within our community,” Cr Fisher said.
Mr Hudson worked as a clerk with the Rockhampton City Council, before joining the RAAF in September 1940.
He was known to his cobbers as ‘The Champ’ and won the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar.
With a red G on its nose and 90 tiny bombers painted on the plane to signify the number of its attacks on Germany, ‘G for George’ now takes pride of place in the Australian War Museum at Canberra.